PM Najib to attend OIC meeting on Jerusalem, postpones leaders' retreat with Singapore

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a speech at the Umno assembly on Dec 9 that he will be postponing the annual leaders' retreat in Singapore. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak is attending a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Turkey next week, to discuss the United States' move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Wednesday meeting, convened by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has led Datuk Seri Najib to postpone the annual leaders' retreat in Singapore, the Malaysia leader said in a speech at the Umno assembly on Saturday (Dec 9).

"I will be at OIC in Istanbul on December 13. PresidentErdogan called me and asked me to attend. He said Malaysia's voice is important," Mr Najib said.

"Coincidentally I have an annual consultation with Singapore's prime minister. I called (PM Lee) Hsien Loong and said please understand this affects my faith as a Muslim and the faith of all Muslims," he said.

In response to media queries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) confirmed that the 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat has been postponed at Mr Najib's request. A new date for the retreat will be fixed by both parties, said the MFA spokesman.

At the last leaders' retreat in Putrajaya in December last year, Singapore and Malaysia signed a historic agreement to construct a high-speed rail line that is slated to start by Dec 31, 2026.

The rail line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, first mooted in 2013, will be 350km long and have eight stations.

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in an earlier speech on Saturday at the same Umno meeting, that Mr Najib - who is Umno's president - will attend the meeting in Turkey to represent not only the voice of Malaysians but also Umno's in objecting the US move.

"Our president will carry the voice of our party and country which has been consistent in upholding the rights of the Palestinians, similar to our consistent stand in speaking up against the atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar," Datuk Seri Zahid said.

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